Religion and Misconduct in “Angola” Prison: Conversion, Congregational Participation, Religiosity, and Self-Identities*
Prior research tends to find an inverse relationship between inmates’ religion and misconduct in prison, but this relationship has lacked empirical explanation. We therefore propose the religion-misconduct relationship is mediated by inmates’ identity transformation on existential, cognitive, and emotional dimensions. To test the mediation, we conducted a survey of inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (a.k.a. “Angola”). Controlling for inmates’ sociodemographic and criminal backgrounds, we estimated a latent-variable structural equation model of disciplinary convictions. Results showed that inmates’ religious conversion and, to a lesser extent, religiosity itself were positively related to existential and cognitive transformations as well as a “crystallization of discontent,” which were in turn associated with two types of emotional transformation in the expected direction. The crystallization of discontent and transformation in negative affect were related to disciplinary convictions as hypothesized, and their mediation of the effects of conversion and religiosity on misconduct were found to be significant.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Jang, Johnson, B. R., Hays, J., Hallett, M., & Duwe, G. (2018). Religion and Misconduct in “Angola” Prison: Conversion, Congregational Participation, Religiosity, and Self-Identities. Justice Quarterly, 35(3), 412–442. https://doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2017.1309057